…I wonder, which one is the illusion?
This one’s a bit different to the other Spotlight’s I’ve done, as this post is being made while I’m still watching the Anime itself (I’ve watched the first 9 episodes so far).
Alright, Scooby Doo, let’s try to solve a mystery ~~Spoilers!~~:
The Golem: A “golem” derives from Hebrew folklore; put simply, it is a being that shouldn’t exist, yet does. Usually, it is willed into being through the actions of several people in unison.
The Golem of Yomi North: Another is set in 1999 Japan, in the town of Yomiyama at a middle school named “Yomi North.” 26 years prior, an intelligent and popular student named “Misaki” suddenly died. Instead of moving on after mourning, the students of his class — class 3 — began to believe he was, in fact, still alive. This belief built up until the day the graduation photo was taken of the class — with Misaki’s likeness even present, just off to one side. Thus began the “Calamity”….
The Calamity: For each year since Misaki, a student suddenly appears in class-3’s roster — a student who shouldn’t exist, yet does. This upset alters the rosters themselves and even the memories of the students in that same class; most importantly, this upset, if left unchecked, results in the death of a student, and/or anyone within two degrees of separation from said student, per month of that school year (on average). At the close of each year, the Golem vanishes alongside any trace of its existence during that past year.
The Counter-measure: Treating one of the students in class-3 as “non-existent” was found to mitigate the Calamity to a notable extent, in some years even holding off the Calamity virtually altogether. In theory, this counter-measure works because it offsets the upset created by the Golem. If only someone told Kouichi that on his first day….
The Special Case of 15 Years Ago: Something happened during a class trip to Yomiyama mountain 15 years ago, that ended that year’s Calamity prematurely. This “special case” has thus far only been observed once in the 26 years of the Calamity’s existence, and the one who pulled it off even left an important clue behind for the sake of future classes. What was left behind was a cassette, left inside an old locker in the original class-3 room; the recording told of the trip, of the two student deaths that occurred while the class was trying to descend the mountain in a sudden thunderstorm, and crucially of what happened once the remaining classmates returned to the bottom — but, of course, that’s when the tape cuts out!
The Current Calamity — is there a pattern? The first death of the show is Mei’s cousin, who dies on the same day Kouichi is met by three students from his new school (which he begins attending the very next day) and then proceeds to meet Mei herself for the first (herself there to see her cousin’s corpse) — this is the only death that goes virtually unnoticed by the characters of the show and likely also by many of the people watching. The first unquestionable death of the Calamity, though likely the second death of the Calamity in reality, is a female student who is skewered by her umbrella after freaking out at the sight of Kouichi standing with Mei. The next death is the nurse who, up to that point, was the only one who was telling Kouichi anything — she dies to an unsafe elevator while the phone with him. Next up is one of Kouichi’s friends, who (in)conveniently dies of a heart attack right as he’s about to open up to Kouichi about the Calamity while Mei was walking him home. Next up is the very unsightly death of class-3’s teacher, performed in front of all the students. Another student dies while Kouichi and some classmates and relatives take a road trip to a beach-side hotel located outside the limits of Yomiyama in order to talk to the man who halted the Calamity 15 years ago; this is the first death to occur outside of Yomiyama, but only on the surface as the cause of his death still occurred inside the town; as it so happened, Mei was also present at the beach that same day. Finally, there are the two deaths that occurred at the close of episode 9 — one student dies with her family in their car, while the other loses her brother to a runaway loaded flatbed truck (both girls happened to meet with Kouichi and his friends just prior, where Kouichi told them they were going to search the old class-3 room for clues to what happened 15 years ago). From here on, now, is mostly my speculations…. So…: Kouichi was either present, had communications with, or was in the vicinity of all the above deaths mentioned. Excluding Mei’s cousin and the teacher, all the above deaths occurred just before or shortly after an important piece of information regarding the Calamity was given to Kouichi; the two exceptions to this are indeed outliers, as Kouichi never had any contact at all with Mei’s cousin (he only finds out about her via the nurse in the days afterwards) and no contact beyond being a student in class-3 with respect to the teacher. The teacher could’ve succumbed to prolonged exposure to the Golem, but what about Mei’s cousin?
Who Is the Class-3 Golem of 1999? If the upset caused by the Golem’s existence is the cause of deaths of the Calamity, then might it stand to reason that the Golem should be in the vicinity of the victim when they die? If so, then Kouichi is an obvious choice for this particular year’s Golem. BUT, the two prominent outliers noted above point to another, perhaps more likely candidate: Misaki Mei. Kouichi had no contact with Mei’s cousin, but surely Mei herself did; she would also have had prolonged contact with the teacher. Then, what about the nurse and the two students who die at the close of episode 9? The only two deaths wherein she wasn’t in the vicinity of the victims when they died? Mei was also at the school when Kouichi spoke briefly with the two girls (who were just leaving the school). As for the nurse, while Kouichi was talking with her while she died a careful watch through episode 4 confirms that Mei was absent from school that day (she even says she wouldn’t show up that day) — she may have been at, or near, the hospital at the time of the accident. During episode 7, Mei confirms that Kouichi is not the current Golem — how does she know with such certainty? She’s also the only student with abnormal behaviour: She loves the dolls her mother makes because they are dead and hollow inside. She is completely devoid of emotion and completely unfazed by death. She had a near-death experience, concerning her left eye, the only one in the show thus far known to have experienced such a thing (in other words, she “remembers dying”). Her family members are completely disconnected from each other and herself, and she to them; even the place she calls “home” is abnormal in appearance. As of episode 9, only Mei and Kouichi are viable candidates for the Golem; even though Mei rules out Kouichi, she could’ve lied to him. The death of Mei’s cousin, as well as the life circumstances surrounding Mei, to me still make Mei the prime candidate at this point.
How to end the Calamity — for good! Regardless of what happened 15 years ago, only one sure-fire means exists to end the Calamity once and for all — not simply for the year. This is based on what I have seen thus far in the show…. The solution is TO DESTROY MISAKI’S DESK. Don’t matter how it’s done, so long as that desk is no more! Even though class-3’s room had changed locations between the catalyst 26 years ago and the present setting of Another, the Calamity associated with class-3 persisted. That 26-year-old desk is the only vestige from that old room, and is the only thing that’s 26 years old in the new room. Because the Misaki of 26 years ago sat there, it’s logical that his Golem also have been created at that desk as well (which is in line with the story of Misaki). It would also follow that the other 25 Golems also have been made manifest from that desk. I would think if that desk was moved into a different room for a year, the Calamity would continue unhindered (assuming what’s known thus far is true) but in that new room; that said, eliminating that desk should eliminate the Calamity permanently as no more Golems would be created that are ultimately responsible for the Calamity itself.
Other clues…: Misaki Mei is the only one in the series who asks the vital question of “who is dead?” — who is this year’s Golem? She also expresses interest in Kouichi’s mother’s class photograph, because his mother was present in the photograph that is claimed to show the original Misaki as the class’ first Golem; Mei tells him directly that she wants to see that photograph once he finds it. Kouichi’s mother also died the year the Calamity was ceased prematurely, at around the day he himself was born; an older girl related to him — a sister or cousin? — was also in that same class 15 years ago. The only student in the class not perturbed by Mei is Kouichi; why? Mei chooses to be the “non-existent” for that year, something that rarely, if ever, happens; also, the current class’ “Counter-measures President” position was filled by someone who volunteered to fill the role — which also rarely, if ever, happens. The Misaki of 26 years ago is said to be a girl in the tales about this student, yet the official year-book for 1972 notes Misaki as being male; what gives? Another notable point is that the class’ first Golem has the same name as Mei — are they related in some way? Finally, it appears that, at least for the current year, most of the deaths (if not all, if the remaining three episodes I’ve yet to watch shed light on the notable exceptions) were the result of someone trying to identify, or otherwise prove the existence of, the current Golem; depending on the level of knowledge being pursued, the consequential death appears to occur more immediately otherwise a death occurs more-or-less within a day or so of a revelation.
Well, that’s all I can come up with at the moment! It’s now time for me to go ahead and watch the last three episodes (and an OVA, too?!) and see if anything I’ve just put down here was in anyway accurate or at least on the right track. If anyone else comes upon this post while also in the process of working through Another, then perhaps this post here may help give you things to ponder as well.
*Reminder: The term “Golem” is what I’m using to refer to the student that suddenly appears in class-3 at the beginning of each year. This is NOT the term used within the Anime itself! (at least, not yet…)